News diary 3-9 September: Delayed verdict due for Reuters reporters in Myanmar and Labour votes on IHRA definition after anti-Semitism row

Foresight News provides a look-ahead to the key events that need to be in your news diary for next week… 

The week begins with the trial of two SAS soldiers who have been charged over the deaths of three recruits during a training exercise in 2013. The reservists – Craig Roberts, Edward Maher and James Dunsby – collapsed during a 16-mile hike on the Brecon Beacons during the hottest day of the year, with a coroner ruling they died as a result of neglect.

Two soldiers (a captain and a former warrant officer), known only as 1A and 1B, face charges of negligently performing a duty at Bulford Military Court Centre. A section of the armed forces have been highly critical of the decision to bring the case to trial, as one anonymous source discussed with The Times.

Also on Monday, a verdict is finally expected to be handed down in Myanmar in the case of Reuters reporters Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone (both pictured).

The pair were charged with violating the country’s Official Secrets Act back in January after investigating the crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. A verdict was initially expected to be handed down in August, but was delayed as a result of the judge’s poor health.

Both Houses of Parliament return from the long summer recess on Tuesday, with two weeks of business to conduct before the formal start of party conference season. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt can look forward to a tough first day at the despatch box for Foreign Office questions, facing MPs for the first time since succeeding Boris Johnson in July.

Hunt has already signalled his intent to address some of the issues left behind by his predecessor, saying the country must now redouble its efforts to free Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been imprisoned in Iran since 2016 and this week collapsed following her return to prison from a four-day temporary release.

Two select committee sessions worth noting – first up, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney appears before the Treasury Select Committee to give evidence on the Bank’s inflation reports. Carney may also be asked about claims emerging in the last week that he has been asked to stay on at the BoE to help navigate Brexit.

Speaking of which, the second big committee session of the day sees DExEU Permanent Secretary Philip Rycroft giving evidence to members of the European Union Committee. Rycroft is likely to face questions on the Northern Irish backstop, a major bone of contention holding up progress in Brexit negotiations.

The biggest political story of the day, though, is likely to happen outside Parliament, as Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) votes on whether to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism.

The NEC’s failure to adopt all 11 examples that accompany the definition, dropping or modifying four that referred to the state of Israel, has fuelled accusations that Labour has not done enough to tackle anti-Semitism within its ranks. The row has consumed the party for months, and most recently prompted the resignation of veteran MP Frank Field.

Following the NEC meeting, the Parliamentary Labour Party are set to vote on the IHRA definition on Wednesday. The meeting has the potential to become extremely acrimonious if any members of the leader’s circle speak against the full adoption of the definition.

Staying in Westminster, Brexit head honchos Oliver Robbins and Dominic Raab take their turn to give evidence to members of the EU withdrawal committee. It’s a safe bet that questions will focus on Raab’s comments that a deal is within reach – an opinion that has been echoed by Michel Barnier.

Fresh from wowing the world with her dance moves on her visit to Africa, Theresa May faces a tango with MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions. She’s likely to be questioned on all the key developments from her waltz through the continent, including a new security partnership with Nigeria and her pledge for the UK to be Africa’s biggest investor post-Brexit. May could also find herself fighting her way out of a plastic bag…

We’ll know Team Europe’s lineup for the upcoming Ryder Cup on Wednesday as captain Thomas Bjorn announces his four “wildcard” picks for the event. England’s Ian Poulter could force his way into the team thanks to his previous Ryder Cup heroics, with Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson and Paul Casey also well in the running. Paris is the host venue, with America and Europe teeing off on 28 September.

On Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock addresses the NHS 70th anniversary edition of the Health and Care Innovation Expo. In his first speech as Health Secretary back in July, Hancock announced plans for a £400 million package to support the rollout of new technology in hospitals, and claimed to be “heartbroken” by low morale in the service.

The Health Secretary has also revealed plans for a wider “digital shakeup of the NHS”, almost certainly inspired by his brief tenure at the head of DCMS.

In Wales, the winner of the Welsh Conservative leadership election is announced. It’s Davies v Davies in the race to succeed the incumbent Davies (Andrew RT), as Preseli Pembrokeshire AM Paul takes on South Wales West AM Suzy.

The leadership vote is part of a wider shakeup across the political spectrum which could change the face (if not the name) of Welsh politics. Labour and Plaid Cymru are in the throes of their own leadership elections, with UKIP having also chosen a new leader in early August.

Thursday also sees the continuation of the inquest into the death of Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan, who died in January this year. The inquest was opened and adjourned on January 19, just days after the singer’s body was discovered at her hotel room in London. The duration of the hearing is unclear, with a coroner’s officer saying on 30 August it could also stretch into Friday.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is expected to host Recep Erdogan and Vladimir Putin on Friday for talks on the Syria conflict. The trilateral meeting comes just days after the Russian President announced plans to hold military drills in the Mediterranean, fuelling speculation that Russian forces may soon launch an offensive in north western Syria.

Political figures from both sides of the Irish Sea gather for the British-Irish Association annual conference, which runs until Sunday. Brexit, the much discussed “hard border�, and the restoration of the Stormont executive are all likely to be on the agenda.

Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who traditionally addresses the event, has used the build up to call on the UK to clarify its Brexit stance. Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley could also speak.

In America, former Donald Trump advisor George Papadopoulos is expected to be sentenced after admitting a charge of making false statements. The case stems from the ongoing investigation being carried out by Robert Mueller into Russian interference during the 2016 election.

Papadopoulos will admit to “inaccuracies” in his interview with the FBI, where he discussed contact with a professor who informed him that Russia had “dirt” on Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats kick off party conference season for 2018, as they  gather in Dunfermline on Saturday. Leader Willie Rennie is expected to address delegates during the afternoon, and may expand on his comments earlier this month that people are “changing their minds on Brexit”. Westminster leader Vince Cable may also make an appearance.

The US Open finals weekend begins with the women’s singles draw reaching its conclusion. Top seed Simona Halep crashed out of the competition in the early rounds – can Serena Williams capitalise on her absence to reach the final two and compete for her 24th grand slam title?

Fresh from their Russian heroics, Gareth Southgate’s England get their UEFA Nations League campaign underway as they take on 2010 World Cup winners Spain. The England boss is likely to field a younger side as he begins preparations for Euro 2020 and beyond.

Voters head to the polls in Sweden on Sunday in hotly anticipated parliamentary elections. The campaign has been dominated by concerns over immigration and a surge in support for the populist Sweden Democrats, with current polls showing the party on 18 per cent.

Their level of support is well short of what would be required to secure an overall majority, but could still have a dramatic impact on the formation of the next administration. The result will also be closely followed by the European Union, with the Sweden Democrats having pledged to hold an in/out referendum.

An action-packed day of sport sees Wales taking on Denmark in their own UEFA Nations League group match, the US Open men’s final from Flushing Meadows, and Team USA captain Jim Furyk announcing his final “wildcard� pick for the upcoming Ryder Cup.

Sunday also marks the start of Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish new year celebration runs until September 11.

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

Picture: Reuters/Ann Wang

Source: Digital Journalism
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